1) This thing is going to end up costing way more than you thought. We stuck to our budget, we reviewed it weekly, and still we went over. But we didn’t use our credit cards. Go over budget if you have to, just don’t go in to debt.
2) You will not go tanning, need facials, whiten your teeth, or go to bridal bootcamp as much as you thought, save your money.
3) No one cares about your wedding as much as you do. And that’s ok. It should be that way. There were many times I posted to Facebook, went on at work, and called friends just to talk about the wedding. I know it’s obnoxious and I tried to keep it to a minimum. Just know that while everyone is happy for you and are psyched to come to the wedding, they don’t want to hear about it every day.
4) You will have to concede on some things to make other people happy. This doesn’t make you a bad person, just human. You will constantly have to decide whether or not the things others suggest or want to help with will cost you anything, literally and figuratively. When they cost you nothing and will benefit the other person, just roll with it.
5) On the other hand, you’re going to have to put your foot down. As great as it is to make others happy when it’s easy, it’s important to make yourself and your fiance happy first. If something isn’t going right, people aren’t cooperating, or there is negativity of any kind, you have to squash it immediately (see #6). Even if you hate conflict or have trouble confronting things like this, you have to do it. Be honest, composed, and firm.
6) Not all vendors are created equally. Do your homework, get recommendations from married friends, check them out on Yelp. The good ones are amazing to work with but the bad ones can ruin everything. Don’t sign any contracts before you’re ready. Ask every single question you can think of. And if something doesn’t feel right, speak up. If you don’t, it will get worse. Trust me.
7) Invest in a huge stash of thank you notes. Triple the number you think you’ll need. Seriously. Between bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, gifts from coworkers, cards/gifts from folks who can’t attend the wedding, and the wedding itself, we bought probably 300 thank you notes (for a 100 person wedding). Despite what anyone says a hand written thank you is not a dying art, it’s proper etiquette and a must-do.
8) It’s ok to change things last minute. Don’t ask for enormous changes but it’s ok to tweak little things even though you may have a little bit of guilt. We changed our first dance song with 8 days to go, I changed my wedding band 3 weeks beforehand, and I changed my whole hair style 5 weeks before. Your wedding needs to feel like you. A lot of things change between when you planned them a year prior and your wedding day, and it’s ok to make modifications as you go.
9) Do your decorations last. I know having tons of time to DIY your perfect centerpieces or make all of the boutonnieres seems awesome, but trust me when I say you’ll save yourself time and stress if you wait until your venue, rentals, seating arrangements, wedding party, and food set up are all set to decide how you want to style the wedding.
10) Your wedding will bring you closer to your friends, family, and your fiance. I totally didn’t expect this but it’s so true. People want to share your love and enjoy this time in your life. It’s extremely special and I found the more I could share it, the merrier.
11) Celebrate, celebrate, and then celebrate some more. Try not to lose sight of how momentous and amazing this time of your life is with all of the business of wedding planning.
12) The amount of planning you do will directly relate to how successful your wedding is. We planned the heck out of our wedding and, based on all of the praise, comments, and feedback, it showed in the awesomest of ways. The whole day went flawlessly. We have a lot of other people to thank for that but we also have ourselves to thank too, and I’m super proud of that.
13) Taking pictures and doing our first look before the ceremony was the best idea ever. It set such an eased, calm, and relaxed tone to the day. I really don’t get how some people go into the whole thing not seeing each other. That would have created such stress for us. Hanging out and taking our wedding party and family portraits before the whole wedding really put us at ease and let us all spend some quality time together before the craziness. I highly, highly recommend that everyone do this. (It helps when you have kickass photographers too to orchestrate the whole thing!)
14) Don’t apologize. Everyone will have their own opinions about how you did your wedding. The nice ones will dish behind your back and the rude ones will say what they’d do different to your face. But don’t apologize for any choice you made. You made it yours and that’s the most important thing.
15) Your wedding day will be the fastest day of your life but it’ll be the best day of your life. I promise.
I’m going to refer to this list and keep these things in mind!
Well said! My son & daughter-in-law did their pictures first and it was the best idea they ever had. When it’s all over – if you’re married….it’s a successful wedding!
Great advice! Wedding planning is super stressful, your list is top notch!
Thank you very much!
Uhhh YUP! Great list of stuff! Totally on board with the whole doing photos BEFORE the ceremony, and doing the reveal then. I loved that moment so much and to have it be just Matt and me (okay and some other people peeking from behind!), that was amazing… all caught on camera. The comment about your wedding mattering more to you than others is so true, too. There isn’t anything WRONG with feeling so excited about your wedding that you want to share it with everyone, but you kind of have to remember that you’re the one getting married, not everyone else around you.
You also reminded me that I really need to write our Thank Yous. They’re super late as it is, but I do still have like 3 months until it’s beyond late. That being said, I think I will get started on those this weekend. It’s just so time-consuming and I feel like life has been nuts this past year since we got married. I mean, how the hell is it almost June already? But no excuses, I need to get them done.
But yeah, overall this is a great list. :)
Yeah, we just banged out the thank you’s because I can’t stand things like that hanging over my head. It makes me cray-cray.
This is FANTASTIC! Thanks for all the info Kim!
Of course! Happy to help! :)
Congrats again! You guys look absolutely amazing in your photos – and I love your dress and those peonies!
I had to smile reading this list because it is SO RIGHT. I couldn’t have summed up my ‘things learned’ any better.
Thank you so much! You’re too kind :)
I do not remark on websites an excessive amount of, but I just needed to get a moment to let you know I truly appreciate the fact that you put this record together for us all.